DURHAM, N.C. – Duke fell to No. 8 BYU 3-0 (22-25, 19-25, 16-25) in the season opener for both teams Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
A steady BYU (1-0) team totaled 45 kills on a .287 hitting percentage, while the Cougar defense limited Duke (0-1) to a .133 clip. BYU’s McKenna Miller led all players with 14 kills and Heather Gneiting put down 11.
"We knew BYU would be a very strong opponent for us and they certainly were," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "I was very proud of our team and how we started. We were controlling the ball pretty well at that time and things were working for us offensively. I thought our DS’s made some spectacular digs tonight. As the match went on, we ended up making a few errors. Some of that was hitting errors, some of that was serving errors. BYU just stayed pretty steady, didn’t make a lot of errors and was able to take advantage of us. We’re going to learn a tremendous amount from this match."
Freshman outside hitter Ade Owokoniran paced the Blue Devils with 12 kills, topping double-digit kills in her first collegiate contest. After missing all but six matches this past season, middle blocker Leah Meyer totaled seven kills on 12 attempts against the Cougars. Meyer hit .500 for the match and added two blocks and a service ace.
"Excited to see Leah have a strong night," Nagel added. "Certainly we had a lot of young players out there. I thought all and all, they fought tonight and I was pleased with that."
Duke jumped out to early leads in both the first and second sets, but could not hold off the Cougars. BYU put together a 17-7 run in the first stanza to eclipse an early Blue Devil advantage, then mounted a 13-8 stretch to take control of the second set.
BYU led the third 9-6 after the first 15 points and Duke was unable to overcome the early deficit.
Defensively, four Blue Devils picked up 10 or more digs with Payton Schwantz’ 12 leading the way. Defensive specialist Kelli Kalinoski contributed 11 while, graduate student Andie Shelton added 10 digs, 15 assists, four kills and two aces in her Duke debut. Freshman libero Mackenzie Cole added 10 in her collegiate debut.
Duke and BYU reconvene at 6:30 p.m,. Saturday, August 25. ACC Network Extra is set to broadcast the contest from Cameron Indoor Stadium.